About Ryan & Amie!
Ryan came to be served by Banchero Disability Partners in 2001 when he was just 18 years old. He joined us from his family home on Mercer Island, but originally hails from California. Ryan was still a high school student and he completed his studies at Shorewood High School, graduating along with his friend and our former client Daisy in 2004. Ryan has lived in a few settings with various roommates – including a stint in the Northgate area; currently he lives by himself at an apartment complex in Shoreline where several friends reside. Over the years, Ryan has had a variety of jobs. His favorite was being a janitor at the Mercer Island Pool. He had a position as a dishwasher for Eurest Dining services, and has been a mail room clerk. Ryan has taken some time off from paid work, but is currently looking for a job (see related article). He is trying different things as a volunteer, and did not love the cat rescue center (the smell was not so nice); but he loves his current volunteer position working in the laundry at the Shoreline YMCA (the co-workers are very nice!).
Ryan and BDP staff member Amie have been a team for the past 3 years. Ryan says about Amie “she does a really great job being my primary and she’s really great to get along with.” As Ryan’s “primary” staff person, Amie is responsible to help him with daily tasks such as budgeting and housework, but most important, a primary staffer helps the client realize his or her goals and dreams. For Ryan, this means keeping mentally healthy by incorporating exercise, planning positive activities, and writing about positive things that have happened. Amie (or another staff member) and Ryan walk almost every day (and often Ryan’s best friend joins them). They walk on the Interurban Trail from Ryan’s current home to his old one — about a 2-mile loop.
Ryan comes from a large family and spends a lot of time visiting them on Mercer Island. He attended all 3 of his sisters’ weddings this past year, and he reports that he loves his new in–laws. Ryan also has a brother, and he is happy that his brother has provided him with 2 nephews and 1 niece. Ryan’s best friend is also supported by BDP; several years ago they lived in the same apartment complex in the Northgate neighborhood. Now they again live in the same complex — in Shoreline — and often hang out enjoying music or going for walks.
Ryan loves all things music, and has an eclectic repertoire. He recently attended a Green Day concert — an alternative rock band — but he also loves the oldies such as Elvis, and he is planning to see the remaining members of The Beach Boys with his dad when they next come to town. In addition to alt rock, Ryan collects old hip hop/rap CDs such as DJ Jazzy Jeff. Ryan heads to Silver Platters as often as he can to browse and add to his collection. Amie says “Ryan keeps me on my toes; I learn so many great facts and trivia about music from Ryan — he knows so much!” Ryan also loves watching vintage shows such as “Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” “Saved by the Bell,” and any James Bond adventure.
These days Ryan is enthusiastically working to improve his life and shape it into his version of success.
Over the years, Ryan has had ups and downs. Along with daily help from Amie, Ryan gives much credit to his doctor at Sound Mental Health for his current success. He says “I am really glad to have such a great doctor, Dale Sanderson, he really listens to me.” Ryan’s mom has been his main champion throughout his life. With help, Ryan is now making and achieving many of his goals; he is getting lots of exercise and eating well, he plans to attend more community events, and to connect more often with his friends, as well as make new friends. Ryan is dedicated to finding paid work again, and plans to re-connect with his church community on Mercer Island.
Through thick and thin, Amie has stood by Ryan’s side, and they have built a relationship of trust from which both have flourished as they meet new challenges. Their journey exemplifies the best of Banchero Disability Partners. We thank them both!
Meet Leif and Ebrima!
Leif came from his dad’s home to be supported by Banchero Disability Partners in 1996, when he was just 20 years old. Leif joined a roommate at the Shoreline Ballinger Commons apartments, and took 2 Metro buses each way to Ballard High School until he graduated in 1997. After participating in a job training program led by BDP, Leif began his career as a dishwasher at the Sheraton Hotel. Leif worked with a group of people who have developmental disabilities, in a scheme called group supported employment. He was supported by Northwest Center Industries, who guaranteed that bussing and dishwashing would be high quality by deploying several clients and a crew leader to the task.
Leif built up a cherished routine of work M – F, and a visit to his dad or his mom in Bellingham every other weekend. Leif would take the Greyhound, meeting his mom at the Bellingham station. Another part of Leif’s routine was garden burgers, and he learned to put together a mean burger with a side of milk to enjoy while watching his favorite Spiderman cartoons.
As Leif matured roommate-living lost its charms and he expressed a desire for more privacy. When we bought The Ramsey in 2010, Leif moved into a spacious sunset-view 1 bedroom apartment on the 4th floor and became king of his castle. With 4 BDP clients on the 4th floor, staff was now shared as if it was one big house with private wings. This arrangement has allowed Leif both privacy and autonomy while making sure he has the support that he needs. Leif has blossomed, and his success is just one of the rewards of having bought our own building.
Leif has had wonderful help from many dedicated staff people over the years, and has teamed up with Ebrima for the past several. Ebrima and Leif have worked together on Leif’s health plan. As a person diagnosed with Down’s syndrome, Leif is prone to certain related health risks. To minimize his risk profile, Leif gets regular checkups, follows a healthy menu plan developed for him by a nutrition intern, and gets plenty of exercise. Ebrima makes sure that Leif goes to the local gym or The Ramsey fitness center 5-6 times a week, and follows a routine that was developed for him by a fitness intern. Leif loves his relaxing and invigorating weekly yoga class put on by Outdoors for All, and he is always ready with his mat under his arm when it is time to go.
In his castle, Leif is in charge of his home life. Leif is proud to carry a key to The Ramsey and to his apartment. Reflective of Leif’s ascetic choices, his apartment is adorned with personal touches such as superhero figurines and posters. With staff help, Leif has mastered home tasks such as taking out the garbage and recycling, washing his dishes and clothes, paying his bills with his checking account, and preparing some of his favorite meals. With the completion of any chore comes a hearty “thumbs up” and “high five” from Leif to Ebrima or other assisting staff. Leif enjoys quiet time alone, with solitary activities such as Lego construction, but recently he has come more out of his shell, and is game for activities such as parks and recreation programs and gatherings with friends.
Ebrima, who comes from The Gambia, has this to say about his time with Leif: “It’s great fun working with Leif, especially attending community holiday parties and dances. These are personal experiences for me, as I get to know more of American traditions and festivities and above all the foods!”
Leif has a wonderful and supportive family whom he visits regularly. He shares a birthday with his sister Anna, and loves being an uncle to her son. In addition to visiting his mom in Bellingham often, Leif sees his dads; David and Jackson, whenever they are in town. For many years, Leif has enjoyed a Sunday lunch at local restaurant Suni’s with his previous roommate Don, and he has forged loving relationships with fellow BDP clients.
Leif was most recently employed doing packaging work from home, which suited his solitary nature and attention to detail. He is currently looking for the right part-time fit with a great company. Leif has a solid work ethic, and comes with a job coach who will help him have success. Email Mohammed@banchero.org if you have any job leads for Leif.
Part of what makes our work so satisfying is to help our clients over the arc of their lives, in all of the different stages. We appreciate the faith that Leif’s family has placed in us and Leif’s enthusiastic participation in our program for the past 20 years, and we look forward gratefully to the next 20 years!
Meet Florence and Rama
When she was 43, Florence moved from her family home in Ballard where she had lived all her life, and started getting our services at the Ballinger Commons apartments. Flo’s face lit up like a Christmas tree when she got the key to her very own first apartment, and she immediately started directing her busy social life. Flo’s mom was sad to see her move out of the family home, but she was having a hard time keeping up with Flo’s medical challenges. Due to the many medical issues, Flo’s prognosis at the time was short. We are thrilled to report that this past July Florence celebrated thirteen years with BDP. Today her health is stable, and she lives in The Ramsey Apartments with her beloved roommate in her cozy, cheerful apartment, and is a whirlwind of activity. Florence’s sunny attitude and the love she freely shares brightens our days.
A huge part of Florence’s success has been having a consistent team of advocates and nurses working with her, and coordinating her complex medical care. Rama is Florence’s lead staff member and came to BDP the same year as Florence. In fact, it was Rama who helped Florence with the transition from her mother’s home. The two of them had planning meetings, and Rama took special care to acquaint herself with Flo’s needs and the people in her life. Working together for over ten years has led to a special bond between the two: Rama is a solid presence in Flo’s life. Rama says “I love working with her, I love the whole package of Florence.” And Flo says of Rama, “she’s my angel!”
Florence believes in calling her own shots, so when she felt that her previous guardian was not respecting her choices, she initiated a legal process to get a new one. She was truly brave throughout the long challenging procedure, and finally, with the help of good friend Nicole, Florence received her new guardian, Maureen, in 2011. Maureen bends over backwards to support Flo’s wishes and goes to bat for her, too.
Florence has quite the full schedule nowadays. In addition to attending to her extensive healthcare needs, she attends a day program, pottery classes, and dance lessons where she is learning not only to belly–dance, but also to line-dance to her favorite: country music. On Thursdays, her job coach helps her volunteer at Arden Rehab Center, and later that evening she sings karaoke with friends. Florence is an avid traveler; her most recent trip was with her friend Kendra to Las Vegas. Together they saw the sights, rode horses on a ranch, and caught a few shows. Florence reports that the highlight was going to see the Elvis Cirque De Soleil show.
Flo attended a friend’s wedding and spent three days on Orcas Island, celebrating and enjoying dancing, good food, beautiful scenery, playing with babies, and, of course, the joyous wedding of a loved one. More recent trips include both Disneyland and Victoria, BC. We are so thrilled that, with our support team and a great guardian, Florence is healthy and able to pursue the life that she loves, and share that love with all of us!
Becky and Messerat
Becky came from the Ruth Dykeman Children’s Center to be served by us in 1999. She was 18 at the time and moved into her first apartment in her home town of Shoreline. Becky had a rough time initially, but gradually benefitted from the loving support she received. At one point she told us that she really appreciated that staff “had my back” and “made me feel safe.” After a couple of years, Becky was able to pay it forward by providing a home and big-sister style mentoring to 19-year-old Cori, when she came to be served by BDP from the foster home system.
Today Becky is living in an apartment that she shares with her beloved cat Rita. Becky is especially interested in the arts and finds painting to be therapeutic when she is experiencing times of stress. (If you have attended our Annual Auction, you may have noticed the bright, colorful paintings that Becky donates) Additionally, Becky attends weekly poetry workshops, dotes on her cat, and spends time with her friends and neighbors. Becky is close with her stepmother, brother, and sister and spends holidays with them. Becky has decided to complete her High School diploma, and is taking classes at North Seattle Community College with an intended graduation date of 2017.
Anyone who spends time with Becky will soon hear of Messerat. Messerat has been at BDP for 8 years, and she and Becky have been working together for 2 of those years as a “primary” team. The primary staff person becomes an expert ally to his or her client, teaching and coordinating all financial, healthcare, household and relationship goals that the person has. It is apparent how much Becky values Messerat’s presence in her life. Becky says of Messerat, “She is a cool person to be around, she has a lot of good ideas.” In addition to their usual errands, Dr. appointments, and chores, Becky and Messerat often take long walks together to visit local parks. Messerat says that she sees working with Becky as a partnership and she likes collaborating and working towards goals they set together. Becky has had some rough times in her past, but she has done well putting those behind her and forging ahead on a new life for herself. As Messerat says, “Becky is not a quitter, she always tries really hard, and if it fails, she tries again.” We at BDP are fortunate to be part of Becky’s life and successes.
Ken and Ebrima
Ken R. had been living in an Adult Family Home, where they did not have the staffing levels to properly assist him. Adult Family Homes have the responsibility to provide food and shelter, and to help their clients get medical care, but they lack the funds to assist with social and mental health support. Ken was leaving the house in search of activity, but unfortunately the world is not always a safe place for a vulnerable adult, and Ken was at considerable risk. Ken often missed health appointments because he was not home when it was time to go, and his health was suffering. Ken’s Developmental Disabilities case manager advocated for more support, and he was eventually approved for supported living. Ken chose to be served at the Loya house, and he joined us in December of 2012.
At the Loya house, Ken has as much privacy as he would like, while joining his 3 housemates for meals and fun. With the help of his primary staff person, Ebrima, Ken has turned his life around. Ebrima says: “As Ken’s primary and support staff, I enjoy working with him very much. Ken enjoys the simple things in life like most of us do, and if you work with someone like that, then your work environment becomes a home for both you and your participant.” Ken enjoys his home, and stays in a lot more than he did when living at the AFH. Ken kicks back with old-school TV shows in the evening, and rarely misses church on Sunday. He has cut down his smoking and is taking far better care of himself and his health. He is at home to eat healthy meals, gets to all of his doctor appointments, and is getting great medical care and follow-up. Ken has been wearing clean clothes and looks great. With the help of a vocational agency, Ken has pursued his career interest – caring for cats – but has yet to land work.
Ken spends his days writing and drawing, mostly about cats and kittens. He and Ebrima hit the library to check for new books on his favorite topics, and when they are not doing that, they are enjoying walks together around Greenlake, or to the local Starbucks or 7-11 for a treat. Ken still gets to explore, but with proper support, he is safe and content. Ebrima and the Loya house staff make sure Ken is also given the opportunity to participate in Parks and Recreation activities. Ken’s favorites are movie night, hearing live music, and joining game nights for Bingo and Yahtzee. Ken also participates in BDP-sponsored events such as guys’ night out, and barbeques with his roommates on the back deck overlooking his huge yard and fruit trees.
Ken does not speak, but he is a great communicator. He writes notes, requests, and answers to questions on his note pad. When asked how he feels about getting services from BDP, Ken had this to say: ” I like living Loya house I always want to live in luxury place staff is nice to me treats me good house mates happy people I like to be around I turn dream in reality I like it here at Banchero.”
Nothing fulfills us more than helping people succeed. We are grateful that Ken joined our agency and we are proud that Ebrima and BDP are providing Ken the support he needs to be healthy and happy!
Jeffrey (JJ) celebrated his 24th year with us in 2013! He lives by himself in an apartment in Shoreline, in a complex with other BDP clients who are also supported. This way, he gets as little or as much support as he needs. JJ loves visiting the Northgate Mall. He has many friends among the vendors and mall walkers. JJ enjoys shopping for clothes and music at local thrift stores and has a huge collection of records, tapes, and CDs. Out of high school, JJ learned growing and sales at a veggie and flower program that Banchero Disability Partners used to run, called BackYard Starts. Eventually he parlayed his skills into a job at Solid Ground in Wallingford, where he has worked for over 15 years packaging seeds for the Lettuce Link program, who then distributes them to food banks. He enjoys his work and saves money to buy concert tickets. JJ makes friends out of all acquaintances and often leaves them with his personal motto, “peace, love, and happiness, dudes!”
Amalia (Mali) joined Banchero Disability Partners in support, moving from her family home with a roommate, into The Ramsey apartments. A recent graduate of Nathan Hale high school, Mali was a “jock” who lettered in both lacrosse and soccer. She is now keeping in shape by taking ice-skating lessons. In addition to playing sports, Mali loves baking, knitting, and playing the piano. She has also taken up weekly lessons on the guitar. Mali loves dog walking, and is hoping to turn her passion into a career as a professional dog walker.
Daniel has a fourth-floor home at The Ramsey Apartments that feels like a tree house; his windows look out onto a lovely canopy of Douglas fir trees. Daniel is very active and is often out for walks. He attends weekly basketball practice through the Seattle Parks Services Special Olympics program. Daniel goes to church on Sunday and enjoys bingo or the movies on Thursdays. He has a lovely family whom he sees every weekend for a meal out or a get-together. Daniel had a job he loved for four years bussing tables at Third Place Commons, but the poor economy resulted in a recent lay-off. He now volunteers at a local church, where he collates reading materials, and is searching for a paid position in assembly or janitorial work.